Nobody makes summer perfumes quite like Acqua di Parma. Between their many variations on the eau de cologne theme and their beachy Blu Mediterraneo series. Now they've created a darker yet still fit-for-summer fragrance as part of the Ingredient series (along with Colonia Leather and Colonia Oud). This is Colonia Ambra.
The Husband, who's been testing Colonia Ambra along with me, had two initial observations: 1) this isn't exactly an amber perfume, and 2) it's really really good. I agree with both. This isn't a vanillic/benzoin amber or a sweet resinous one. The "Ambra" here is ambergris (or, more likely, its approximation as a perfume note and not the actual animalic ingredient), which contributes to the nautical impression created here. But you know what I smell most? Leather. Smooth, musky, luxuriously lightweight, elegant leather.
Even in the relatively light/fresh opening there's a slash of bitterness, A hint of dry grass growing by the beach, (fantasy) driftwood, and polished old wood. The leather is surrounded by a classic gentleman's cologne notes, crisp and herbal (in his NST review Kevin calls it "vintage/barbershop aftershave lotion"), but it's still a very effective leather that should appeal to both men and women who adore this smell and want an easy to wear, surprisingly summery fragrance.
As Kevin mentioned in the review I linked above, this Acqua di Parma perfume is free of the dreaded marine notes. It's beachy without being aquatic (or tropical or nostalgic in the Coppertone way). The saltiness is very subtle, as is just about everything in Ambra. It makes me think of an old world seaside hotel and a vacation that includes dressing up for a tasteful afternoon tea by the window facing the water.
Ambra behaves in the heat, asserts itself just enough as not evaporate into nothingness, and stays put for about eight hours, maybe more. It gives a clean air even in the clammy soup that is our current weather, which I appreciate greatly. And as I mentioned above, it's also 100% Husband approved. I think he considers the bottle his own. He's wrong about that.
Notes: orange, bergamot, petitgrain, nagarmotha, cedar wood , rosewood, musk, patchouli, ambergris, sandalwood, vanilla.
Acqua di Parma Colonia Ambra Eau de Cologne Concentrée (100 ml, $220) is available from Sephora and select department stores. The product for this review was sent by PR.